22 March, 2015
Clam Chowder Cream of Mushroom Soup
As with all adult-onset Diabetics, my life is divided into time spans. Specifically, B.D. (Before Diabetes) and A.D. (After Diabetes). Before Diabetes, I had a certain bunch of foods that I just passionately loved, but diabetes took them out of my life. Various cream-based soups and chowders are some of them. New England clam chowder cream of mushroom soup, corn chowder, etc. I also loved eating, sometimes, in restaurants that serve soup in a hollowed out round bread loaf as the bowl. Well, Diabetics just can’t do that sort of thing, and I missed it. So substitution time, please don’t gag, but cauliflower to the rescue! I have discovered that cauliflower, treated correctly, can work wonders as a cream-base substitute in soups. A couple of things about my universe. There is no such thing as too many mushrooms. Also, for soups, stews, crock pot meals, casseroles, HUGE numbers of creations, I do not use recipes. I create. I invent. I do so in a way that meals meet the needs and taste buds of myself and my husband. Over my lifetime, I have served my food to an enormous number of other people. Nobody has ever objected to the meals, or gagged, or left any food on their plate. I also have almost always been asked for my recipe. Well that can be difficult when it is stashed away in the brain. I am going to try very hard to give you the recipe for the “clam chowder/cream of mushroom” soup I made for dinner tonight. My husband and I love it, but please remember, when my amounts seem vague, I don’t have a specific recipe. And dinner tonight was just stupendous. I do have a friend who has access to day old breads of the higher end pricey types that many people do not usually buy. Yesterday he gave me two of the round loaves of bread that specialty restaurants hollow out and use for soup bowls. I could not resist the temptation, so I made my soup. As far as the bread was concerned (pretty much a “no-no” for Diabetics), here is what I did. With very sharp kitchen shears, I cut the tops off. I then removed almost all of the bread inside until pretty much all that was left was the crust shell. (Be very careful not to puncture that crust shell). By removing almost all of the bread, I greatly reduced the calorie/ carb load.
A note about the mushrooms. I use fresh, brown (Baby Portabellos). I also love shiitake and oyster, but they are very expensive and do have a strong “nutty/earthy” flavor that some people may not like. In this particular soup I used around 8-10 of the baby portabellos and a little less of the shiitake blend the local store’s produce section had on hand.
Clam Chowder Cream of Mushroom Soup
1. Large head of cauliflower, including the stem.
2. Thick-cut bacon (however much you like. Don’t overpower the other more subtle flavors). I
used about 5 strips.
3. Fresh mushrooms (see note above about mushrooms).
4. Two 10 ounce cans of baby clams, drained. (Three might have been better, but two was all I
5. Salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic, strictly to your taste In a large pot, boil the cauliflower, maybe 20 minutes or so. While that is cooking, have the bacon cooking in a large skillet, and clean and mince the mushrooms. (Some time could be saved by chopping the mushrooms in a food processor, but if you are not very careful they can easily become mush. I prefer to take the time to hand chop them.) When the bacon is ready, set aside. Sauté the mushrooms in the skillet you fried the bacon in (removing about 99% of the bacon grease first. A little bacon flavor in the mushrooms is good, but drowning them in the fat is not so much). When the cauliflower is done, put it in your most powerful blender (I use a Ninja). I add some of the water that the cauliflower was cooked in, about a quarter cup Smart Balance margarine, and roughly two tsp. of black pepper. Blend the cauliflower until it is the consistency of a cream soup base. Pour it back in the large soup pot and check the consistency. Stir in little bits of water until it is the consistency you like. Crumble the bacon and add it, the sautéed mushrooms, and the drained baby clams. Add salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic to taste, going easy on the onion and garlic. Heat the soup and serve in the hollowed out bread bowls, (or regular soup bowls.) Enjoy.
Don’t forget, you are a Diabetic, so tracking the calories and carbs is a must. To do that, as I use each ingredient I write it down:
8 C. cauliflower —cal. —carbs
5 slices bacon —cal. 0 carbs
4 C. shrooms. —cal. —carbs
2 cns. clams —cal. —carbs
I total the calories, total,the grams of carbs. Once the soup is ready to eat, I measure how much of the finished product I have. I then divide the calories by the amount of soup and that gives me how many calories per cup of soup. I do the same with the total of the carbohydrates. I’ll say it again until you are sick of hearing it—-this is not a scientific, lab-kitchen tested technique for determining the calories and carbs in what I cook. It’s definitely extremely close. When I inject insulin to cover what I have cooked, I am very close to always correct in the amount of insulin.
Regarding the cals. and carbs. in the bread bowl: It’s a bit of a crap shoot. With us, the soup was so filling neither my husband nor I could eat the bowl, so it was not a problem. If you have hollowed out all of the bread, leaving only the crust “bowl”, look in the breads section of your carb-counting book and make an informed guess about the cals/carbs in the bowl. Every now and again you do need to make informed guesses. I hope you like the soup as much as we do. I made a huge amount of it, so will enjoy it for lunch the next couple of days.